Reign of Winter

Summary 15: Changing of the Guard

Chapter Three: Maiden, Mother, Crone



Offended by MIYUKI’s demeanor and presence, the Crone launched a charm her way to test her willpower.  Like the faceoff between SHANG-TSUNG and the Huldra SYLGJA, the Paladin fought off the metal affliction, charged and stabbed the Changeling in the gut.  UPANIX refused to get involved and watched a screaming MIYUKI hack and slash at the Crone.  The Changeling smiled and plunged the cornfields in utter chaos with a sudden blast of Confusion.  All save the Healer and the Half-Giant were affected, all babbling incoherently and fighting amongst themselves.  Meanwhile, UPANIX joined MIYUKI in her relentless assault.  When the battle began to turn in the Horde’s favor, Artrosa’s warden simply Teleported away.  In her absence, the room’s Veil was Dispelled revealing a bare cavern chamber and a chest.  Suddenly, the Bird corpses animated and formed an Undead Raven Swarm.  Shortly after, a Hungry Fog enveloped the battlefield, consuming flesh on contact.  With the Swarmbane Clasp in hand, UPANIX went to work.   The Ravens robbed MIYUKI of her eyesight, leaving the Half-Giant to fend for himself.  As the swarm whittled away, the Fog’s necrotic energies gave the fallen Raven’s new life.  But alas, by the time the Confusion wore off, UPANIX had left very little for the others to tackle.  Once the threat dissolved, MIYUKI began mending wounds.

The room’s chest was untrapped and housed a Scroll of Age Resistance.  Three other exits were noticed, two doors depicting a Goat skull to the east and west, another door to the south depicting a nude pregnant woman.  Whilst the Horde pondered their next move, MIYUKI called upon MAIN and allowed the thing to fondle her bloody shortsword.  Having acquired knowledge about the appendage, the Paladin shared her findings with the others.  Apparently, a mere drop of the Crone’s blood was more than enough to mark the Crawling Hand’s new quarry.  OTAK had forgotten MAIN’s involvement in locating commander BOSTITCH and confirmed MIYUKI’s assessment to be sound.  Intrigued with their new sensor, the Horde agreed to back track to the dungeon’s entrance in hopes to get some rest and recover before perusing their attacker.  By the time they found themselves back in the dimly lit corridor, near the oak table and bowl of flower peddles, MAIN began dancing excitingly.  After pulling on OTAK’s pant leg, MAIN motioned the Horde to follow his nose.  Within seconds, the Horde was led to the strange living quarters, MAIN wanting to travel down an unexplored tunnel to the east.   The hand was scolded at and the thing was forced back to the entrance, allowing all to recuperate.

The hours that followed were uneventful but invigorating.  After consuming much of the Paladin’s power, MAIN was released to the wild yet again.  The Horde returned to the living quarters and traveled down the eastern corridor.  Suddenly, the tunnel branched in two directions, one leading further east and the other leading north.  MAIN creeped to the north and entered an impossible expanse of broad meadow in bright daylight filled with swaying wildflowers.  A familiar young and nude farm maiden stood in the field’s center, her arm draped over the muscular neck of a Great Ox.  Wasting no time, the Horde surprised the young Maiden dealing several minor wounds.  JADRENKA turned, smiled, and unleashed another wave of ConfusionUPANIX, unaffected by the Maiden’s charm, cut the woman once more.  Suddenly, the Ox’ guise was dismissed, revealing a wicked Gorgon.  The magical beast unleashed a vile cloud of green mist upon the Horde.  By the time the vapors dissipated, both UPANIX and KRUSH had been turned to stone.  Meanwhile, both OTAK and SHANG-TSUNG acted irrationally as MIYUKI continued her melee assault.  By the time UPANIX fought off his paralysis, JADRENKA had failed to Feeblemind the Paladin and was unable to turn the Elder into a Frog.  The Gorgon trampled his foes as OTAK spoke gibberish.  SHANG-TSUNG broke his own nose and downed the Half-Orc with a cluster shot.  No longer stoned, UPANIX took out Artrosa’s warden and MIYUKI plunged her blade within the Changeling confirming a fatality, an act that appeared to bolster the young Paladin.  Suddenly, the room’s Veil vanished revealing another bare chamber and the Gorgon’s meal, the carcass of a Frost Giant.  The Gorgon was dealt with in quick fashion as MIYUKI closed OTAK’s bleeding.  Both UPANIX and MIYUKI took cover and allowed the Confusion to run its course whilst KRUSH fought off the petrifaction before it became permanent.

The battle had benefited the Paladin in many ways, acquiring a great deal of experience and wisdom, once an adolescent, now a young woman in her prime.  The Healer tended to the weak whilst the others catalogued several power artifacts.  JADRENKA’s cloak and amulet were most impressive, as was an uncut gem found near the Frost Giant’s corpse.  More importantly, the Horde had acquired the Gold Nugget, one of two ingredients needed for BABA YAGA’s kettle.  Still in poor health, the Horde rested and MIYUKI’s healing hands were called upon yet again before venturing forth.

The Horde exited the chamber and opted to go east, to unchartered territory.  The path led to another chamber with a small pool and a table.  Upon the table were a silver chalice and a bowl of dried corn seed.   To the north-east stood three stone pillars, each hollowed out to create shallow fonts.  Three runes were chiseled on the pillars, the first had an ear of corn, the second, a six-spoked wheel and the last, an inverted triangle within a circle.  Beyond the pillars was a door depicting a nude and pregnant woman, similar to one found within the Crone’s chamber.  SHANG-TSUNG had everyone drink from the pool using the chalice and force fed the corn seed before bashing the door down.  One by one, the Horde member crossed over the Mother Door Trap’s portal and it was made apparent that OTAK had done something wrong.  The air around him caused great pain as he moved, almost like Wind Blades.  The Half-Orc demanded that everyone stop as he began bleeding out.  Reversing his course did nothing to numb the pain, nor did hitching a ride on the Half-Giant’s back.  Having lost a lot of blood, OTAK insisted that they rest on the spot for several hours in hopes that the Curse would run its course.  With a few extra hours sleep and a new supply of positive energy, the Horde licked their wounds and gave OTAK the next move.  No longer surrounded by Wind Blades, OTAK and the Horde marched onward.

Suddenly, the dimly lit tunnel grew dark and a Glowing Hand had been placed on all party members.  The Light revealed a new decor upon the walls, that of sunny skies and leafy trees.  The Light had also revealed another disturbance.  MIYUKI looked very different, middle-aged and…, pregnant.  Not knowing what to say about her delicate predicament, it was decided that the Cursed Paladin stay behind whilst the others explored further.  The crude tunnel ended at a door and the Horde shattered it whilst ignoring the frightened cries from within.  The Half-Elf Magus MARISLOVA, JADRENKA’s estranged lover, had unsheathed her longsword in preparation for her next trial.  When the Half-Elf learned of the Changeling’s fate, MARISLOVA pleaded for her life and made a request to be freed from her illusionary prison.  Falsely accused for being unfaithful, MARISLOVA was locked within the chamber to repent her sins, the Mother holding the only key.  The Horde had acquired knowledge about JADRENKA and her ability to take the forms of Maiden, Mother and Crone.  But aside from the latter, the Half-Elf’s sob story fell upon deaf ears and the Horde denied her freedom in fear that she’d become a reoccurring villain.  Against three mighty Barbarians and an Ankylosaurus, MARISLOVA fell well before unleashing one of her spells.  After looting all of value, the Horde bypassed a door to the north in favor of the door to the east, revealing another darkened tunnel.

After a long trek down one of summer’s tunnels, the Horde broke through the door at the end of the corridor and found themselves face to face with a Frost Giant flanked by a pair of Andrazkus.  The Horde’s opponents were all well versed in blunt force trauma, landing several near fatal blows, but lacked the skill and speed to reign supreme.  The battle had been won with clustered shots, whirlwinds attacks and strategic dirty fighting.  A thorough search of the natural cavern revealed nothing and the Horde investigated the cave opening leading outside to the bitter cold of winter.  Climbing atop several feet of snow with the aid of their Boots of the Winterland, the Horde found themselves outside Artrosa’s Mother statue.  Several miles to the west, the Crone statue was spotted and the Maiden, several miles to the east.  No way had they traveled this far with little effort, it was clear that the Horde was dealing with powerful magiks.  After a breath of fresh air, the Horde returned to MARISLOVA’s prison and entered the door to the north.  The tunnel beyond ascended to a large chamber, the ceiling several hundreds of feet high.  A stalagmite stage dominated the room’s center, surrounded by smaller rock formations.  A stone staircase spiraled upward into darkness warranting a closer look.  The staircase led to a short tunnel and then, a dead-end.  After making several futile attempts at penetrating the rock, it was assumed a doorway would appear at a certain moment in time.  Having reached an impasse, the Horde reunited with their ally heavy with child.

The damage inflicted by the Giants was soothed and the Horde returned to the dimly lit cavern, doing so returned MIYUKI to a more desirable state, lustful and without child.  The Horde returned to the corridor leading to the Maiden’s entrance but traveled south to explore the tunnel beyond.  Suddenly, the air filled with sounds of whooping and screaming, coming from a door nearby.  The chamber beyond reeked of urine, the walls and floor covered with countless lines of jagged runes.  The room was home to four miniature Andrazkus and all fell with relative ease without the power of their Righteous Might.  As usual, the runes were incomprehensible but it appeared that someone had begun mapping out the area, areas the Horde had already visited.  The nearby chest had been breached revealing several items of worth; the poisoned barb protecting the treasure having no apparent effect.  The Horde exited the soiled chamber and continued south.

The dimly lit corridor became dark and again, MIYUKI aged ten years and appeared to have a bun in the oven.  Pushing the discomfort aside, the Paladin insisted on continuing.  The door at the end of the hall led to a catacomb of sorts.  Ten mausoleum facades protruded from the walls around the room's perimeter.  Displayed above each door was a keystone engraved with a name.  Throughout the room stood ten life-sized statues of proud, matronly women, all barefoot and similarly dressed, but had their own unique appearance.  SHANG-TSUNG approached one of the unlocked doors and broke the wax seal.  Doing so unleashed a powerful Curse, but the Samurai’s resolve was more than a match.  Whilst the Elder looked upon the mummified remains within, the other noticed a pair of ghostly warriors rise from the ground to confront the crypt’s defilers.

 
CHALLENGE
XP
Hungry Fog
600
Undead Raven Swarm
1600
Jadrenka; Changeling Witch
3200
Gorgon
1200
Bonus: Recovered a Gold Nugget
2400
Trap: Mother Door Trap; triggered
1600
Marislova; Half-Elf Magus
1200
Frost Giant
1600-Lv9
2 Andrazkus
800
4 Andrazkus
1600
Trap: Poisoned Chest; triggered
800
Session total
16600
Campaign total
78680

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